The main honey flow is now over for 2014, the bees have had a great summer. A mild winter helped them build their colonies up easily, with brood being found at the first opening of the hives in March, allowing a plentiful of bees to be foraging as soon as the weather conditions were right. Despite what some may say, aside from a few wet August days overall we have had a great summer. There have been many warm bright sunny days providing good flying conditions for the bees. This has resulted in a good stock of honey being produced.
Now the main honey flow has finished for the year, (the main spring-summer flowers are finished) beekeepers are taking the excess honey from the hives. As a beekeeper with concerns for bee welfare I only take from the bees the excess and leave them with plenty to survive the winter. This excess is spun out of the frames in a centrifugal extractor that spins like an old style spin dryer. The honey is then filtered once and jarred.
There is a great demand for honey from the local beekeeper. No surprise why, it is fresh, raw, not heat treated or ultra-filtered and contains far more goodness and important health benefits than supermarket honey.
So what are these beneficial properties?
Many! Whether taken by mouth or applied topically honey is a natural healer. Hippocates prescribed honey to many patients for everything from fatigue to mouth ulcers, to carbuncles! Here are a few of honey’s key benefits:
Antimicrobial – honey is antimicrobial meaning it prohibits the growth of certain bacteria. Containing an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide honey is able to prevent bacterial growth. Not only this, research from 2008 discovered honey also contains high levels of human gut friendly bacteria , enhancing digestion and helping those with digestive complaints such as IBS.
A collection of vitamins – honey contains an array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and bioflavonoids that working in combination boost our immune system, aid digestion and help the heart and circulatory system. When a sore throat strikes taking honey can fight potential infection as well as soothing the discomfort.
A source of antioxidants – that can destroy biologically destructive agents that have been linked to many serious illnesses. Research shows that the darker the honey the higher the levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants help eliminate nasty free radicals for example helping the fight against cancer, as well as encouraging new tissue growth, thus the increased use of honey in skincare products.
Hygroscopic – honey is naturally hygroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture from the air (leave a jar of honey on the side opened for a day or so and you will see if starts to granulate as it takes moisture from the air). Honey is therefore able to help wound healing and scar prevention by keeping the wound moist, encouraging the growth of new tissue. Applied in skincare products honey can aid skin hydration thus keeping skin fresh looking, soft and supple, and hair healthy.
And finally, allergies. I have so many people asking me if it is true that eating local honey can help with hay fever. Personally I am lucky enough to not suffer with hay fever but I know lots of individuals who swear by a minimum of 2-3 teaspoons of honey a day to keep hay fever at bay. Supermarket honey will not do it, it needs to be local and it needs to be raw (not heated, not over filtered), therefore a local beekeeper is your best source. Containing tiny pollen grains, you almost immunise yourself against the pollen’s effects. It is best to start taking the honey before the pollen season starts but if not possible start as soon as you can (It may be worth getting a few jars of local honey now and putting then away until next spring so you have a supply at home ready before symptoms start).
So there you have it, just a few of the reasons (and there are many more) why this all-natural insect produced food is so good for us, why my family consume a jar a week and why I can talk about it endlessly!
If you’ve any further questions feel free to contact me via the contact form